Stormwater biofilters (also known as raingardens or bioretention systems) and constructed wetlands are currently regarded as two of the most promising water sensitive urban design (WSUD) technologies. For example, biofilters are highly efficient in reducing runoff volumes, and in removing solids, nutrients and metals from stormwater while having a relatively small footprint.

Stormwater wetlands, that can be very effective flood control measures, are often regarded as the key amenity assets in our urban areas. These systems are multi-functional technologies that protect waterways from polluted and elevated urban discharges, beautify urban landscapes and improve local microclimate function.

This project will deliver multi-functional hybrid WSUD systems capable of treating multiple water sources (such as stormwater, greywater, partially treated wastewater and polluted groundwater) within urban landscapes. It will focus on water recycling of multiple water sources in urban areas, and further development and optimisation of stormwater biofiltration and wetland systems to better protect our waterways and cool our cities. It will also focus on the aesthetic appeal of biofilters by incorporating ornamentals and climbing plants.


Key outcomes

The project will focus on the development of:

  • constructed stormwater wetlands that can function well within groundwater dominated hydrology systems of the Coastal Plains around Perth;
  • green wall technologies that can treat greywater while providing thermal isolation to buildings and cooling to the surrounding areas;
  • hybrid biofilters for treatment of multiply water sources within urban landscapes, for example, harvest stormwater during wet periods and treat greywater during dry periods;
  • biofilters that are aesthetically pleasing as well as effective in water treatment; and
  • adoption guidelines for these new technologies including guidance on design, operation and maintenance.

These new WSUD technologies could be adopted by local and state planning authorities and water utilities. Water system technology manufacturers and service providers, urban land developers, building contractors, and engineering and design consultants will also benefit from these developments.

As a joint project with "Hydrology and nutrient transport processes in groundwater/surface water systems" (Project B2.4), a wetland eco-hydrological model is being developed to simulate vegetation response to water balance variability and associated changes in biogeochemical cycles, and validated against above data. This will lead to better understanding and modelling of the operation of urban wetlands influenced by shallow groundwater systems.

Last updated: 13th Jun 2016